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From The Signal Archives: Nukes and beach babes

Posted: July 29, 2010 10:25 p.m.
Updated: July 30, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

Editor’s note: As The Signal celebrates 91 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the July 30, 1969, Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

Nukes and sensationalism
Back in the summer of ’69, Scott Newhall was king of The Signal, and the paper tended toward the ... well ... “sensationalistic” about says it.

The July 30, 1969, headline screamed across the top of the page in huge letters: “Horror of a Nuclear Attack.” (At least there was no exclamation point at the end.)

As it turned out, Newhall hadn’t really been nuked. (The town, that is. Or the man, either.) The story’s lead paragraph read: “If a nuclear attack hit anywhere near Valencia Valley, it appears the chances of survival for most local residents are minimal.”

(“Valencia Valley” was Scott Newhall’s term for the Santa Clarita Valley. It didn’t exactly catch on.)

“A big weapon dropped in the heart of the Los Angeles area — and the Soviets are said to have a giant 100-megaton bomb — would apparently be hopelessly disastrous,” says the second paragraph.

But not all the news was bleak. “Civil defense officials, however, are operating on the premise that the ‘enemy’ will not, or can not, wipe us out. This premise seems to keep them in business, no matter how confused, helpless and unorganized their plans may be.”

Feel better?

Beach blanket bingo
As if nuclear bombs weren’t enough to sell newspapers, the July 30 issue included a front-page picture of a bikini-clad woman on a blanket in the sand.

It wasn’t a shot taken at Castaic Lake (which hadn’t been built yet), but rather a reference to an inside page that featured SCV babes frolicking in the surf at the beach.

“Many Valencia Valley teenagers eagerly await the arrival of summer vacation to begin the mass exodus toward the usually sunny and sandy beaches of Southern California,” began the skimpy article accompanying the pictures.

What we need is some violence
A column by then-Sports Editor John Henry (could that have been his real name?) bemoaned a decline in the number of Major League Baseball fans and the rising popularity of professional football.

“While many of the younger generation publicly profess a ‘peace and love’ doctrine, many others obviously relish broken bones and bloody encounters,” Henry lamented.

His solution? “If baseball is to compete with pro football for a large-scale audience, it must find a way to bring violence onto the diamond.”

“In order to undertake a charge in baseball, and to give the fans what they really want, I am initiating the first Signal Sports ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’ Reward,’” Henry wrote.

The column proceeded to award the first Signal “Wanted” poster to the Giants’ Juan Marichal, who had famously hit Dodger catcher John Roseboro with a bat, winning Henry’s accolades.

The reward? “A year’s subscription to the Mighty Signal.”

Nuclear war and beach babes included.

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